« PreviousContinue »
of Infancy,-a poem which cannot fail to be admired by every lover of Scotland. But verse was only the recreation of Leyden's mind. His acquirements, particularly as a linguist, though probably over-rated both by himself and his admirers, were very considerable; and in India, whither he went in 1803, promised to be of great advantage to the British service, as well as to his private fortune. These prospects were prematurely blighted by his death, which took place at Java, in 1811, three weeks after he had landed there with the British troops. He died of the horrid fever of Batavia, after an illness of only
three days. His early and illustrious friend, with whose poetical sym
pathies Leyden's taste was strikingly in accordance, has adopted a stanza of his Ode to Flodden Field as the motto of Marmion; and in the LORD OF THE ISLEs has paid the following affectionate tribute to his memory :
“ His bright and brief career is o'er,
And mute his tuneful strains ;
ODE TO AN INDIAN GOLD COIN,
WRITTEN IN CHERICAL, MALABAR.
SLAVE of the dark and dirty mine!
What vanity has brought thee here? How can I love to see thee shine
So bright, whom I have bought so dear?
The tent-ropes flapping lone I hear For twilight-converse, arm in arm ;
The jackal's shriek bursts on mine ear When mirth and music wont to cheer.
By Chérical's dark wandering streams,
Where cane-tufts shadow all the wild, Sweet visions haunt my waking dreams
Of Teviot loved while still a child,
Of castled rocks stupendous piled By Esk or Eden's classic wave,
Where loves of youth and friendships siniled, Uncursed by thee, vile yellow slave!
Fade, day-dreams sweet, from memory fade!
The perish'd bliss of youth's first prime, That once so bright on fancy play'd,
· Revives no more in after-time.
Far from my sacred natal clime, I haste to an untimely grave;
The daring thoughts that soar'd sublime Are sunk in ocean's southern wave.
Slave of the mine! thy yellow light
Gleams baleful as the tomb-fire drear. A gentle vision comes by night
My lonely widow'd heart to cheer :
Her eyes are dim with many a tear, That once were guiding stars to mine;
Her fond heart throbs with many a fear! I cannot bear to see thee shine.
For thee, for thee, vile yellow slave,
I left a heart that loved me true ! I cross'd the tedious ocean-wave,
To roam in climes unkind and new.
The cold wind of the stranger blew Chill on my wither'd heart : the grave
Dark and untimely met my view And all for thee, vile yellow slave !
Ha! com'st thou now so late to mock
A wanderer's banish'd heart forlorn, Now that his frame the lightning shock
Of sun-rays tipt with death has borne ?
From love, from friendship, country, torn, To memory's fond regrets the prey,
Vile slave, thy yellow dross I scorn! Go mix thee with thy kindred clay!
FROM SCENES OF INFANCY. E’En as I muse, my former life returns, And youth's first ardour in my bosom burns. Like music melting in a lover's dream, I hear the murmuring song of Teviot's stream : The crisping rays, that on the waters lie, Depict a paler moon, a fainter sky; While through inverted alder-boughs below The twinkling stars with greener lustre glow.
On these fair banks thine ancient bards no more, Enchanting stream ! their melting numbers pour ; But still their viewless harps, on poplars hung, Sigh the soft airs they learn’d when time was
young : And those who tread with holy feet the ground, At lonely midnight, hear their silver sound; When river-breezes wave their dewy wings, And lightly fan the wild enchanted strings.
What earthly hand presumes, aspiring bold, The airy harp of ancient bards to hold,
With ivy's sacred wreath to crown his head,
BORN 1796-DIED 1820.
This young poet was of humble origin. He was born in
London, educated at Enfield, and apprenticed to a surgeon at the age of fifteen. John Keats was as unlucky in his early friends and patrons as he was happy in natural genius ; yet they probably all meant well and even kindly by him: and we can only regret that he became, from evil juxta-position, the foot-ball between contending partisans. Lord Byron has attributed the death of this youth to the injustice and acrimony of the critics; but whatever effect their severity may have had on his poeti. cally-constituted and singular mind, the immediate and unequivocal cause of his death was confirmed phthisis, to which he fell a victim in Rome, in his twenty-fourth year. With the productions of Collins, Chatterton, Bruce, White, and others, full in memory, it is impos
sible not to be. struck by the early writings of John Keats, which, amid their wild extravagance, display much of the power, fervour, and exuberance of original genius.
· EXTRACT FROM HYPERION.
Lo! 'tis for the Father of all verse. Flush every thing that hath a vermeil hue, Let the rose glow intense, and warm the air, And let the clouds of even and of morn Float in voluptuous fleeces o'er the hills; Let the red wine within the goblet boil, Cold as a bubbling well ; let faint-lipp'd shells, On sands, or in great deeps, vermilion turn Through all their labyrinths; and let the maid Blush keenly, as with some warm kiss surprised. Chief isle of the embowered Cyclades, Rejoice, O Delos, with thine olives green, And poplars, and lawn-shading palms, and beech, In which the Zephyr breathes the loudest song, And hazels thick, dark-stemm'd beneath the
shade: Apollo is once more the golden theme ! Where was he, when the Giant of the Sun Stood bright, amid the sorrow of his peers ? Together had he left his mother fair And his twin-sister sleeping in their bower, And in the morning twilight wandered forth Beside the osiers of a rivulet, Full ankle-deep in lilies of the vale. The nightingale had ceased, and a few stars Were lingering in the heavens, while the thrush Began calm-throated. Throughout all the isle